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Ex-Ridgewood Employee Admits to Stealing 1.8 Million Parking Meter Quarters

The Hawthorne man, whose quarters were worth about $460K, will serve five years probation, reports say.

Credit: Patch.
Credit: Patch.

A former Ridgewood employee admitted in court Wednesday that he stole $460,000 in quarters from the village’s parking meters, nj.com reported.

Thomas Rica, who worked as the Ridgewood Public Works Inspector, pleaded guilty to five counts of theft, and will avoid jail time as part of a plea agreement he made in Bergen County Superior Court, the report said.

According to nj.com, Rica must pay $460,000 back to the village, and will serve five years probation. The 43-year-old Hawthorne man will need to pay $69,600 at his June hearing, and $2,000 a month after that, the report said. If he misses a payment, he’ll likely go to jail, it said.

Rica, who began working in Ridgewood in 2004, admitted to taking quarters retrieved from parking meters that were stored in a room at Village Hall, the report says. According to NorthJersey.com, Rica stole over 1.8 million quarters over a 25-month period before his arrest last year.

Rica’s attorney said the man was not using the quarters for any illicit purpose, and blamed the thefts on “temptation,” nj.com reported.

“He was in a room with a lot of money.”

Village officials say additional security measures are now in place to help prevent something like this from happening again, the report said.

DD March 23, 2014 at 01:11 PM
Gary, if you are having a difficult time raising your children, there are resources out there to help.
Oliver Train March 23, 2014 at 01:12 PM
DD - Do you live in the Village? Rica stole from YOU!
moose balinski March 23, 2014 at 01:47 PM
I think we are all out of touch with our kids ability to make lots of cash and they won't have too steal for it. Let me explain. I overheard talk from my kids, their cousins and a few friends from school one day. They were talking about how some kids are making fast money, and a lot of it. They mentioned a website named chaturbate and that kids everywhere are getting turned on to it. I informed my husband of the talk I overheard and he started to investigate. He found out that today's young people are broadcasting themselves on that chaturbate website via the built in cam from their computers and people from all over the world go to this site and watch them. My husband discovered that the "viewer" buys "tokens" from the website at $1.00 per "token" and then "tips" the person broadcasting themselves into doing strip shows and sex shows. My hubby and my brother-in-law told me in total disbelief that in just one hour of investigating that site they actually saw these young people earning $1000, $2000, and all the way up to $15,000 from those tipping, if they did what was requested of them. One "show" was of 4 girls broadcasting from their dorm room at some college and they took in over $12,000 in just under 50 minutes. My husband read the "rules page" for the website and found out that the website keeps 10% of those "tips" and then issues a re-loadable debit card to the broadcaster for the balance. My husband & I have been mounting a constant watch over their computer usage ever since we discovered that most of those kids broadcasting themselves were doing so right from their own bedrooms in their parents home, and at times in the middle of the night while the rest of the family were sound asleep, or not at home at the time. If this website is all the talk at our children's schools and social networks, I fear that this could spread like a wildfire especially if they can make $1000 to $15,000 an hour without leaving their own bedrooms. Why should they take a chance of getting caught stealing from their employer, or their parents, if they can make much, much, much more doing this? Welcome to our brave new world. God help us all !! I wish the internet was never discovered !!!!!
Oliver Train March 23, 2014 at 01:50 PM
Moose - Do know that you can get a firewall or other content filtering software to block sites like that?
moose balinski March 23, 2014 at 02:01 PM
@Oliver....Yes I do. we have installed such software on every computer in the house. Our worry is when our kids are over the house of a friends and/or someone we don't know, whose parents are not aware of this, or just don't care. I'm trying to get the word out to everyone I know so that they can take all necessary precautions. BTW- I should have said in my post above that "I wish the internet was never "invented", and not discovered. sorry.

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